I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Greetings to all! My father-in-law stopped by my office this week to check in on me. We sat and talked for a while. He said that he just wanted to come by and to see how I was doing. You see Ali’s parents lost a child as well. Ali’s younger brother Philip was five when he went home to be with God and so their family knows all to well what it is like to be Minus One. Ali and I have talked many of nights about her parents and the loss of Phil, long before Cate was ever born or even a twinkle in Ali’s eye. Bill and Cheryl are a happily married couple and have been for almost thirty years. There is a picture of the two of them on their refrigerator that was taken on a boat off the coast of Italy somewhere, apparently when you get older you actually have money to travel, I am not sure, mine all goes to diapers, daycare, and MILK! Anyway, in this picture they both have the biggest cheesiest smiles on their faces and over the years I have often wondered how they could be so happy, and I mean genuinely happy, after losing their only son. I have always had a special place of respect and admiration in my heart for the two of them. Are they perfect, No. Do they do everything right, No. Do they bug me as in-laws do some times, I will not answer that:) They have three beautiful, wonderful, not to mention absolutely STUNNING daughters, who are all well rounded, spiritual, and fun girls. This just always kind of baffled me. Now, Ali and also have talked about how difficult it was after Phil died, how heartbroken her parents were and Bill and Cheryl have both shared these stories with me and this was all long before Cate. They have been blessed to have me in their lives for QUITE a while now, sometimes they probably thing a little too long.
As I mentioned in a previous blog three years ago my mother passed away. Now, my mother and I, put the FUNK in dysfunctional, but man did we love each other. We could fight like nobodies business, but in the end, we knew that there was nothing that would ever come between us. We had been through too much together to give up on each other. After her passing my heart was broken and I mean broken. Ali endured a lot during that time after Mom’s death. I really just checked out on her. I spent a lot of time alone, I spent a lot of time in silence, even with Ali around, and I spent a lot of time very angry at God, because, “How could He take my mother away from me at only twenty-seven years old? After all the work I had done for Him for all these years this is how he treats me!” It took me along time to work through all those feelings that were raging inside my heart. I remember one night sitting outside our home in Houston drinking a nice cold beer and suddenly I had this image in my head of a Phoenix rising from the ashes and the words, “You will rise” were spoken quietly into my heart. That day began a resolve for me; I knew I would be ok, I knew that Ali and I would be ok and that our hearts would mend.
As my Father in-law and I talked in my office I told him that we would be ok, there is a confidence in my heart and in the faithfulness of our God that assures me, we will be ok. Will it be today, tomorrow, next week or next month, probably not, but we will! I went on to tell my father-in-law that I feel like we have all the necessary pillars in place to succeed. We have our Faith, we have our Family, and we have our Friends. It is like God has set us up for success. I am a pretty self-aware person and as long as my family unit, Ali, Ella, Dude, and I are moving forward, then I will allow us to continue on the path I see working for each of us. If we start to waiver, then I will step in and get a little more involved on the individual level. If I am not aware that we are falling back, then our family and our friends will be very aware of it. As you might have noticed I don’t have hard time sharing my feelings of what is going on in my heart. Our friends are all walking in sync with us right now and if we begin to waiver, they WILL notice and none of them, Family or Friends, are shy about calling a spade a spade, Thank God!
On this Christian journey that we all walk I believe that those are some of the pillars that we must cling to in times of distress. I believe first and foremost we must draw close to our God and our Church for strength and wisdom. I believe that we must draw close to our families for experience and solace. And finally I believe that we must surround ourselves with friends of like mind, heart, and vision, true brothers and sisters, who are not afraid of the messiness that this world can bring into our lives and who know our hearts inside and out, that we can sit and cry, sit and laugh, sit and share a good glass of wine or a cold beer, or any other type of beverage you choose, maybe a coke or something. As the first reading from the Prophet Hosea says, “I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks.” These three things are the cords that He holds us close to His cheek with and it is because of these cords that I have confidence that my family, although Minus One, will be ok, in fact, we might just even be better. I just encourage each of you to utilize these three pillars in your life. We love you all very much and ask that you continue to journey with us towards healing!
Much Love, The Cantrells